As of April 9, beat scene goddess Tokimonsta dropped her new album, Half Shadows, via dance music giants Ultra Records. It’s a surprising move for Brainfeeder’s first lady, who first made her name fellowshipping with the likes of Flying Lotus and Samiam at small club nights, cafes and leftfield hip-hop ciphers around Los Angeles. But since traveling with Skrillex on his eclectic Full Flex Express tour and playing alongside the likes of Wolfgang Gartner and Tiësto, Toki (born Jennifer Lee) is no stranger to winning over big-room house and dubstep crowds with her introspective and heady low-end theories.
On the new record, Toki collaborates with a cool line-up of vocalists, including legendary rapper/alien Kool Keith, avant-pop group MNDR, rising LA star Gavin Turek, and R&B/soul singers Andreya Triana and Jesse Boykins III (who, like Toki, are also alumni of the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy). These voices add even more layers to an album that’s already full of personality and her trademark laid-back and hazy beatscapes – always full of pure, distilled Californian cool. The record is reportedly inspired by Kafka On the Shore, a 2002 novel from the enigmatic Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and it definitely seems there are some intricate plot lines (as well as poppy hooks) weaving through this experimental hip-hop journey. Half Shadows truly puts the “trip” in trip-hop.
You can vibe out to – and buy! – the impressive new record here, but in the meantime we’ve got some exclusive Tokimonsta content just for you. Last year, Toki touched down at our 2012 Scion Music(less) Conference, and offered some important advice, inspiration and insight for up-and-coming musicians alongside moombahton main man Dave Nada and NYC producer Nick Hook. You can watch one of the many videos below, then scroll down even further to score yourself a free download of an amazing 11-track EP from Analogue Monsta, Tokimonsta’s cool side project with Suzi Analogue. Perfect music for coastal drives, morning coffee and chilling in the sun!